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Gifted Children/Child's ability to recall


My Daughter and grandchildren live with my Husband and I. My granddaughter is 5 now and has the ability to recall almost everything you teach her or tell her. I learned this of her the first time I taught her how to spell her name. After one time of repeating it, she new it. I'll teach her a rhyme, french words and phrases, birthdays, days of the week, months(in French also)  the Pledge of Allegiance, one time saying it to her and she can repeat it back to you and never forget it. She reads very well but only after you have told her what the words are, then she can read the book back to you. She knows all the coins and their values and can tell you what holiday is in each month. She knows so much but falls short on her motor skills such as writing . I don't think she has a photographic memory so what would you call it? I'm just amazed by this ability.

Your granddaughter is blessed to have such a caring grandmother right in the same house.  Your daughter is fortunate that your home is her home as well.

It is thought that children are born with terrific memories. They can learn and remember as you describe, because they don't have a lot of information and images cluttering and competing for storage in the brain.  That gradually decreases as the child gets older.

You are correct - she doesn't have a photographic memory (the medical word is eidetic memory) and applies only to what is learned by sight. It does seem that she has exceptional memory for her age.

She may be gifted. Most children her age would hardly be beginning to read.  You describe her motor activity as falling short, such as in writing. Not at all! At her age writing is normally just beginning.  

From kids who are extra "smart", we often expect too much. They can seem years ahead of age in intellectual ability, but emotional development sticks close to age.  It's  important to be mindful of that difference, and to give enough attention to emotional development. There is a tendency to give a lot of attention to academics at the expense of nurturing emotional health.

Your best resources with questions about kids and family:

1. It is a free service of the American Academy of Family Physicians, with information about people of any age and family topics.

2., a free service of the American Academy of Pediatrics, focused on kids.

3. Free Spirit Publishing,, high quality learning and playing materials.

4. Parenting by Design,, about the important spiritual elements of discipline.

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Gifted Children

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Faith A. Coleman MD


No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.


Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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